The Anchorage School Board is asking for community feedback and recommendations on improvements to education in Anchorage. The board is launching an online survey starting Monday. It will also host a series of community forums in November.

The outreach is part of a strategic planning process to outline a new set of goals and priorities for the district starting next fall. 

"We're doing something a little different that we've never done before," said school board president Starr Marsett. "We actually brought in stakeholders from all over the community to help us come up with a plan for this."

A list of stakeholder groups provided by the board includes nonprofit organizations such as Bridge Builders of Anchorage, United Way of Anchorage, The Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, as well as faith-based communities and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The entities involved will take part in distributing the survey. 

Marsett says questions in the survey to Anchorage families include:

  • What do you see as barriers to the education of students?
  • What do you see as the most important thing in educating students?

In a live, on-air poll Tuesday, Daybreak asked viewers to grade education in Anchorage. During the interview, a majority of respondents gave the district a C. By the end of the program the rating had fallen, with 33% of the respondents choosing a D grade.

"You can always do better," Marsett said of the score. "Some of our groups are not reading where we want them to be proficiently."

Marsett noted that the board approved a curriculum, with emphasis on reading, that's now in its second year. 

"We know it will help," Marsett said. "You can't turn a ship on a dime, right?"

The school board's community forums will be held in the evenings from 6–7:30 p.m. at middle schools in Anchorage and Chugiak starting Nov. 7. The online survey will be available from Nov. 4 through Nov. 27.

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